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on March 15, 2001
Arkadia Records releases One Day, Forever the 4th recording from saxophonist, composer and arranger Benny Golson CD FEATURES SHIRLEY HORN, ART FARMER, RON CARTER, MULGREW MILLER, AND THE PREMIERE RECORDING OF A CLASSICAL SOLO PIANO COMPOSITION
At an age when most artists are thinking of retiring, Benny Golson continues to be a prolific writer, consummate arranger and a masterful composer, which can be heard on his latest release, One Day, Forever. As his triad of accomplishments in the world of jazz is unparalleled, Benny's latest is also a tale of three stories: not only does the CD cover a vast array of his best known songs (in a reunion with the late Art Farmer-these sessions would be the final time that Golson and Farmer would record together), it includes several exquisite new compositions that feature no less than some of today's royalty of jazz: Shirley Horn, Ron Carter, Mulgrew Miller, Carl Allen and a string section of twelve cellos. And not to be contained even by the boundaries of jazz, Benny's new classical composition for solo piano is included, the Chopinesque "On Gossamer Wings" which has its world premiere on this recording and is a further example that Golson is one of the most important artists of the last forty years. Benny and his music, including the new pieces, will be featured in March of 2001 in a series of special concerts at New York's Lincoln Center.
Benny's career is well documented: From his days as a R&B saxophonist with Bull Moose Jackson in the early 50's, his two year tenure with the Dizzie Gillespie Big Band from `56 to `58, his legendary musical directorship of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in `58 and `59, the forming of the Jazztet with Art Farmer, his composing years in Hollywood for films and TV, his return to performance in the early 70's and the string of standards he has written in all those years amount to a massive, comprehensive body of music that is wide in scope and deep in value. But as stated before, Benny's music cannot be defined by a single genre, and since his association with Arkadia Records in 1996, Benny's has found a home for all of his projects that the world must hear. During that same time, Golson had reunited with former Jazztet members Art Farmer and Curtis Fuller for a tour of Europe, where they recorded the sextet portion of this CD. "But because of everyone's prior commitments, they could only record for one day," explains Arkadia CEO Bob Karcy, "which meant that we would not have enough material for a full album. I knew that we just had to use that material...and Benny had mentioned that he had written some songs that had never been recorded and some were the first for which he had ever written lyrics...he also told me that he had started working on a classical piano piece that was still unfinished." Beginning with those orphaned tracks, One Day, Forever is the result of the concept of a broad overview of Benny's career.
One Day, Forever is Golson's 4th CD for Arkadia and promises to be the most rewarding. The masterful Shirley Horn delivers the heartbreaking goods on two new compositions. The title track is described by Benny: "Whenever I write a ballad, which happens to be my favorite vehicle for music, I always think of Art Farmer instrumentally and Shirley Horn vocally...when I felt the urge to begin writing my own lyrics, I decided this piece would be the one..." Originally written as a tribute for Art Farmer's wife after her death, "the words seem to tell a story about love gone bad, it is, in fact, a very real account of Art and his wife..." Horn turns in an inspired performance that is destined to become the standard for this song.
Sad To Say is another impressionistic work that "grew out of the dark shadows of my imagination." Originally intended as an instrumental that portrayed an eccentric, haunted, tortured saxophonist crossed with the Phantom of the Opera and Quasimodo, "when I decided to write a lyric for it...it became a mournful, unhappy heavyhearted outpouring of unrequited love. You can hear the "tears" in Shirley's voice as she unfolds this sad scenario."
The romantic `fantasia' On Gossamer Wings was written over the course of several years, and was ultimately completed in the summer of 2000. Very few jazz musicians also compose or perform in the classical field, so the inclusion of this piece on a primarily jazz recording is somewhat of a first. "In On Gossamer Wings, I could hear the spirit of Rachmaninov, Chopin and other great composers of the Romantic piano literature," recalls Karcy. "With Arkadia's acquisition of the Postcards label, we expanded our musical horizons to include classical and world music. Our first release in the classical area was from the exceptionally gifted young pianist, Lara Downes, and Lara's idea for her next project was a musical journey through classical Americana entitled "American Ballads." I suggested that we record his composition with Lara to include it on her own new recording, and on Benny's CD as well. Who said that everything on an album has to be the same style?" Benny agrees. " I wondered how a classical artist would feel about recording something that was composed by a [jazz] musician...Bob and I wanted to include her recording of the piece on this CD. It's one of my compositions!" The CD culminates with the performance, whose motif is sculpted out of the classical language of Western Europe and explored through thematic development throughout the 10 minute work. It's only fitting that Lincoln Center will host the premiere of the opus in March of 2001, performed by Ms. Downes.
The six classics recorded in 1996 constitute a brief recap of Benny's output as writer of jazz hits. Blue Walk, Killer Joe, Are You Real, Out of the Past, Blues Alley and Along Came Betty all belong to the rare breed of song that refuse to be ignored over the course of time. Featuring Benny's core band of a younger generation that interpret standards in a way that belies their years, Dwayne Burno, Geoff Keezer and Joe Farnsworth meet the masters themselves: Benny, Art Farmer and Curtis Fuller. Together, they create-not recreate-new hard bop readings of the hits Benny penned over 40 years ago, to the more recent. The feeling of the group is that they are playing the music, not just the notes, as most groups are apt to do today. Such mastery can only be obtained through years of playing together-and it shows. It's no wonder that these musicians were of such importance and have contributed so much music to jazz, and their last session together is a testament of that. Even if the last 40 years may fall under the realm of "journalism and criticism" and not to the history books, as some factions may want you to believe, we all know the truth.
Three stories from one remarkable artist. Let the ears of your heart decide where to start first.
A full-service label started in 1997 by Bob Karcy, Arkadia Jazz has earned four Grammy nominations (the most of any independent label in the jazz category) and wide acclaim as "The Artists' Choice." "Arkadia is a new label whose recordings to date have been meticulous, high-quality productions with focus and purpose" Thomas Conrad, Stereophile. The label has released CD's by Billy Taylor, Benny Golson and Joanne Brackeen (both Grammy nominees on Arkadia Jazz), T.K. Blue, Mary Pearson, David Liebman (also nominated for a Grammy), Kenny Drew Jr. and David Lahm, among others. The twice Grammy nominated "Thank You" series includes tributes to John Coltrane, Gerry Mulligan, Duke Ellington and Joe Henderson. In June of 1999, Arkadia acquired the esteemed Postcards label, and is expanding its catalog into the world and classical music areas. Postcards new releases are classical pianist Lara Downes and bassist Joris Teepe with Don Braden and Chris Potter, and ethnomusicologist/percussionist Royal Hartigan.
Arkadia Jazz is a label of Arkadia Entertainment, a natural extension of V.I.E.W. Video founded by Karcy 17 years ago. V.I.E.W. is widely acknowledged to be the premiere home video producer and label in jazz, performing arts (opera, dance and classical music) and special interest (documentary, parenting, sports, health & fitness) with a catalog in excess of 200 titles that have been honored with over 100 prestigious international awards.